Book Review: In Ark: A Promise of Survival by Lisa Devaney

Title: In Ark: A Promise of Survival (Mya and Ark) in ark

Author: Lisa Devaney

AISN: B00JHJAVPE

Published:   April 4th 2014 by Lisa Devaney Publishing

Genre:  Cli Fi, Climate Change Fiction

Pages: 190

Source: I received my copy from the author in exchange for an honest review

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Description:

In the year 2044, Mya Brand lives in New York City and pursues her passion—trying to digitally save the life story of every human on the planet before climate change makes Earth un-liveable. Recovering from a failed marriage, she stays laser-focused on her mission. With support from her actress best friend and bartender buddy, she is rebuilding her life and trying to heal her hard shell.

Fraught with daily hardships of survival in the face of climate change, she struggles to obtain food, maintain resources and protect her delicate skin from the harmful rays of the sun. With little funding for her digital archiving project, she struggles to keep her dreams going, but wonders how much more she could accomplish if she had more resources.

Then, one day she is abducted by an eco-survivalist community— Ark— that promises to make her dreams come true.

Finally able to focus on her mission, she begins to thrive in her new, sheltered, life. Gone are the hardships she faced from the outside world and climate change. Gone are her money struggles.

But Ark proves not to be the utopia she expects.

My Thoughts:

“In Ark: A Promise of Survival” is set in New York in the not too distant future. Mya Brand is struggling to get funding so that she continue her life mission to digitally save the life story of every human on earth because she fears that many wont survive ‘the change’. The entire planet is struggling to cope with climate change and by 2044 when the story is set people are already being forced to wear heat protective clothing every time they step outside and eat artificial food. Life is pretty grim for Mya and her friends until she is kidnapped by an eco-survivalist community called Ark. Ark seems to provide everything that Mya needs at first, real food, protection from ‘the change’ and the technology that she needs to complete her digital project but eventually she begins to realise that things aren’t all as they seem in Ark.

This was my very first Cli Fi (Climate Fiction) novel and I found it a really interesting concept. It made me wonder what would happen if the weather did become as extreme as it was in “In Ark”. I definitely would not be keen to eat artificial food all of the time, that’s for sure! I also thought the idea of digitally saving the life story of every human being on the planet an interesting idea. Maybe I should go through and delete all of those awful drunky photos from my 20s from my Facebook just in case!!

“In Ark: A Promise of Survival” was very well written and Lisa Devaney has written about climate change in both a factual way as well as exploring in-depth the day to day effects that climate change could have on ordinary people. I will be looking out for the sequel.

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Book Review: Candyfloss Guitar by Stephen Marriott

Title: Candyfloss Guitar candyfloss guitar

Author: Stephen Marriott

ISBN: 1505448050

Published:   Published March 2nd 2015 by Createspace (first published August 11th 2014)

Genre:  Novella, Travel Novel, Fiction

Pages: 60

Source: I received my copy from the author in exchange for an honest review

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Description:

Diego is coasting. He has been content with living his life in a sun scorched pueblo that lies on the route of the pilgrim path: The Way of Saint James. But one stormy night, change is forced upon him when his father, Eduardo, the local candyfloss man, unexpectedly catches him entertaining a captivated crowd with flamenco guitar rhythms. At that moment, Eduardo relinquishes the hold from the ghosts of his past and realises it’s time for Diego to confront his fate. Eduardo arranges for Diego to live and work on a farm and sends him on his way with the gift of his old Spanish guitar.

Candyfloss Guitar is a story about taking the first steps on a journey towards shrouded dreams and searching for meaning.

Stephen Marriott, the soulful travel novelist, brings a subtle tenderness to this traveler’s tale that traverses the spiritual and physical worlds.

“A Gabriel Garcia Marquez-style tale of self-discovery kissed by the supernatural. Short, lovely and satisfying.” – Acclaimed spiritual fantasy author Laura K. Cowan, author of Music of Sacred Lakes & Thin Places: Supernatural Tales of the Unseen

My Thoughts:

Candyfloss Guitar is a delightful novella by Stephen Marriott who is a traveler as well as a wonderful author. When Diego’s father sends him off to make his own way in the world with his trusty old guitar a series of unplanned circumstances have him decide to walk the pilgrim path, The Way of Saint James (Carmina de Santiago) rather than head off to work on his cousin’s farm as he planned. Diego’s journey becomes not just a physical one but a quest to find his destiny in life and he meets many interesting characters along the way.

The author’s descriptions of Spain are beautifully done and I can tell he holds a great love for the country and the people there. While reading Candyfloss Guitar I was very tempted to pack my bags and embark on a pilgrimage myself until I remembered how rubbish I am at  walking long distances!

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Book Review: Sing a Mournful Melody by Juli D. Revezzo

Title: Sing a Mournful Melodysing a mournful melody

Author: Juli D. Revezzo

AISN: B00PF0IQWY

Published:   November 8th 2014 by Raven Queen Publications

Genre:  Gothic, Short Story

Pages: 18

Source: I received my copy from the author in exchange for an honest review

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Description:

At the turn of the 20th century, tragedy has left Maribelle grief-stricken. After her beloved husband is murdered, his body disappears from his crypt. Worse, ghostly voices call from the widow’s Graphophone. Is she losing her mind, or does something wicked this way come?

My Thoughts:

‘Sing a Mournful Melody’ is a spooky short story with a real Gothic feel to it. I enjoyed the suspense which kept me wondering right up until the very last page whether Maribelle was simply out of her mind with grief at the loss of her husband or were the voices that she could hear coming out of the Grapaphone really coming to get her. It was a very cold and stormy almost winters afternoon here in Melbourne today and ‘Sing a Mournful Melody’ was the perfect short story to read over a coffee.

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Book Review: The Girl in the Photograph by Kate Riordan

Title: The Girl in the Photograph the girl in the photograph

Author: Kate Riordan

ISBN: 1405917423

Published:   January 15th 2015 by Penguin Books

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Gothic

Pages: 448

Source: I received my copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

My Rating: 3/5 stars

Description:

The Girl in the Photograph is a haunting and atmospheric novel that tells the tales of women in two different eras – the 1890’s and 1930’s – and how their lives seem to be entwined by fate. Kate Riordan’s novel is a beautifully dark and beguiling tale which will sweep you away. It will appeal to fans of Kate Morton and Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca.

My Thoughts:

‘The Girl in the Photograph’ by Kate Riordan began with great promise but I thought the pace a little bit too slow and that it wound up fizzling out a bit towards the end. The story is told by two women, Alice in 1933 and Elizabeth in 1898, who both live at the Gothic and secluded English country estate, Firecombe Manor. When Alice became pregnant to her married boyfriend her mother sent her away to stay with her childhood friend, Edith Jelphs, who works as a maid at Firecomb Manor.

Alice soon discovers Elizabeth’s old diaries and begins a quest to discover all of the mysteries that Firecombe Manor holds. Even though Edith worked for Elizabeth she is reluctant to speak about the past, so Alice is left to do most of the investigating on her own, with a bit of help from a local historian.

I particularly enjoyed the chapters of ‘The Girl in the Photograph’ which were told from Elizabeth’s perspective. They had a real mysterious and Gothic feel to them and I was really interested to find out what happened to her and her children. I did feel though that Alice’s chapters dragged on a  bit and that the ending was rather anticlimactic, but these are all very likely just a matter of my own personal preferences. The story was well written and the mysteries are subtly, although slowly, revealed in a way that will appeal to readers who enjoy Gothic mysteries.

The Girl in the Photograph was published in the USA under the title Firecombe Manor.

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